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Getting a new pet lizard is very exciting. It also can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of things your new lizard needs, and if you are not familiar with reptile care, you will need a bit of guidance. I remember when I first got my lizards. One was a Veiled Chameleon and the other a Common Tree Lizard. Each required special equipment and special dietary supplements. If you are a new lizard owner, or are thinking of becoming one, the following is a guide to the basic items you will need in order to provide proper reptile care. I also advise you to visit the petMD Reptile Care Center, where you can learn all about your new pet and how to properly care for him or her.
Key Reptile Care Items For Your New Lizard
(1) An Enclosure: Your pet lizard will need a safe place to reside. The most commonly used lizard enclosures are fish tanks. Most smaller lizards, such as anoles, require a minimum of a ten gallon tank. Medium sized lizards, such as Geckos or my Common Tree Lizard, need a minimum of a 20 gallon tank. I kept my Chameleon in a 40 gallon size. Many lizards are escape artists, so for my tanks, I made a screen top to enclose the space, and pet stores also sell already made screened tops. Some lizards though, such as bearded dragons, can live just fine in an open enclosure.
(2) Lights: Most, but not all, lizards require full spectrum lighting. While it may be possible to situate an enclosure in a window that receives natural daylight, that makes it difficult to regulate temperature. Thus, the ideal enclosure will also have electric lighting that utilizes full-spectrum bulbs. I purchased florescent daylight fixtures at my pet store that sat atop the screen top for the enclosure.
(3) Heating: Reptiles are cold blooded animals that rely on outside heat sources. There are multiple options for this. I used red heat lamps that sat atop of the top screen that would generally heat the entire enclosure and also allow for the lizard to position itself right below it for extra heat. There also are heat pads and tape that can be placed in or outside the enclosure, and some prefer heated artificial rocks.
(4) Furniture: Time to decorate! Some lizards need places to perch and others need places to hide. My Chameleon required perches, and I decorated his enclosure with tree branches and artificial plants. Since he rarely set foot on the ground, I just kept plain newspaper there for easy cleaning. My Tree Lizard, however, needed places to dig and hide, plus she liked to climb. For her, I had a branch to climb, a lizard cave that I bought at the store for her to hide in, and I used loose aquarium gravel on the floor, which she would bury herself in.
(5) Feeding Items: Your lizards will need water bowls and, if you feed items that don’t move around, he or she will need a food bowl as well. If you keep crickets to feed, you will need a separate enclosure for them such as a plastic small pet container.
(6) Food: Lizards often eat primarily insects such as crickets or meal worms. But many eat vegetable matter as well, especially as they get older. I tended to feed crickets, which I kept in their own enclosure, and I put leafy greens and other veggies in a bowl for my Chameleon.
(7) Vitamins and Supplements: Lizards commonly need calcium supplements and vitamins. For many, extra calcium is essential for good health.These can be purchased in powder form and dusted over the food. Put crickets in a baggie and shake with some powder to coat them.
(8) A Leash: Think I’m kidding? Well, for many lizards I am, but a few lizards will walk on a leash quite nicely. I once had a friend who regular put a special leash on her Iguana!
Image Credits: Deposit Photos Subscription.